Thursday, June 07, 2007

A holy call

A few weeks ago, perhaps longer, I was hurt and offended by what I perceived to be a misunderstanding and misconception of the work and role of a stay at home mom. I framed a response in the form of a letter which was never sent. In hindsight, I believe I was right in this instance to not confront the offending party, yet I would like to share a portion of my response with you. Despite my initial reaction, I am not writing this in a spirit of anger nor judgment, but rather with the intent of encouraging other moms (and potential moms) in the pursuit of the holy call of full time motherhood:

Choosing to stay at home was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. When our oldest son was five months old, I was offered a teaching job at the local high school. You have to understand we were living in a somewhat rural area and teaching jobs were extremely hard to come by, especially at the secondary level. My parents had gone into debt for my education, as had my husband and I, so shouldn’t I put it to good use? Besides that, we could’ve really used the money. We were renting a house, one with no dishwasher and no central air, and had no money to purchase a home of our own. I cried and agonized, but in the end, I called the principal and said no.

I say all that in order to make the point that I do not stay home because we are somehow privileged. We are certainly now more financially able to do this, but it hasn’t always been that way. It has been a sacrifice and I would be lying to you if I said that there haven’t been times when both of us wished for that second income.

There are those who speak of “necessity.” While it is certainly true that there are those women who must work for their family to eat or their kids to have insurance—and I totally support and applaud their sacrifice—I also believe that much of the perceived “necessity” is simply a lifestyle choice and could be alleviated by a change in lifestyle. So many women, and their husbands, have bought the lie of our culture that the stuff—the house, the car, the furniture—is far more important than any benefit of being at home. They see staying home as a drudgery, mainly consisting of housework, and why should they do “without” in order to stay home and clean toilets?

Here are some reasons my husband and I have chosen for me to stay home and what I see as my ministry here in the home:

  • To raise my kids. I am not a perfect mother by any stretch of the imagination, but God has given them to me as their mother, and it is not only my responsibility, but my privilege, to be as intricately involved in their lives as possible. It is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, being a mom; but, I know that God has, in His sovereignty, placed these four precious lives in my care, as a trust. Too often our culture views children as a burden and a trial, and not as a blessing worthy of any sacrifice I can make in order to be at home with them for the short time they are children.
  • To serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Most, if not all, of what I do for the cause of Christ I am able to do out of the freedom I have as a stay at home mom. This is one of glorious privileges those of us in the home can experience: the freedom to pursue ministry in a variety of ways.
  • To show that there are things more precious than what money can buy. People ask me all the time if I will be going to work now that the kids are in school, to which I often want to reply (somewhat sarcastically I fear): Why, for money? Again, by no means am I wanting to offend those who must work, but I think in asking such a question, people are assuming that naturally we would want the money, and why not? We don’t. There may come a time when I will need to work, but for now, my husband and I both believe that me serving Jesus here in our home and raising our kids is far more precious than anything mere money can buy. We want to bring glory to Christ, revealing Him as the true Treasure of this life, not the house or the job or any professional accomplishment. Being obedient to Him and His call is worth any sacrifice—financial or otherwise—we may make.

My husband and I both view my staying home unequivocally, absolutely as God’s primary call on my life. I believe part of my ministry to women—the part I am failing the most in accomplishing—is in encouraging other women to choose to say yes to God’s call to be at home. I know the blessing and the privilege, as well as the challenge, and it is one of my passions to see other women say yes to full time motherhood and ministry in the home. I am grateful to God that He has allowed me the precious privilege to raise a generation of men for His kingdom and my heart is broken by the misconceptions that lead others to deny the same call for their lives.

11 comments:

  1. What I wouldn't give to be able to be a stay-home Mom. Key word being Mom. As an infertile, I get to stand in the wings almost everyday, watching other moms act out their lives and I realize I will probably never have that opportunity. We are trying to adopt, and the minute I am holding that baby in my arms, rest assured that I will join the SAHM club! And, I really hope with everything in me, that one day I will get to make that choice too. What an easy choice that will be for me. I applaud you!

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  2. Praying that God continues to bless you and encourage you in the call to stay home and nurture those whom God has placed in your care. I applaud all you hard working stay at home moms.

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  3. Thank you, Lisa, for saying it so well! We would love to have a nice new home and some extra money but have decided that our children need me more than we need the money. It is exhausting and often times draining, but the daily blessings outweigh anything that I may complain about.
    I am still paying for my college education. That makes it even harder to stay at home, to know I am paying for something I am not using. Thank you, again, for explaining it so well.
    I am so blessed and my life seems so full, I wouldn't trade these days for anything. Sure, when my children start school, I will probably go to work (if only to pay off the debts we have encountered as a result of my being home!!) but for now, I count each day as a blessing and love my time at home with my babies!

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  4. Friend, you've encouraged me on a day when I think, "Are they even listening to me?" It's the plugging on to raise and train Christian men for the Kingdom. Thanks.

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  5. Wonderful post!
    As a stay at home mom myself there are many days that I realize that if I went back to work we could afford more stuff.
    But then I also look at the cost of child care and it is UNBELIEVABLE.
    But compared to getting to raise my kids and be with them and teach them those two things are really moot!
    THANKS for this post!

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  6. You wrote this so beautifully. BEAUTIFULLY!!!! Thank you for posting this...I just may link to this in a future post!!

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  7. I have lurked here a little bit, and felt I must "de-lurk" to compliment you on your post. I stay at home with 2 little boys and feel quite certain this is where the Lord has called me to be. Thank you for stating it so eloquently. We are each capable of completing the work He has called us to do.

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  8. You wrote this so beautifully. BEAUTIFULLY!!!! Thank you for posting this...I just may link to this in a future post!!

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  9. I have lurked here a little bit, and felt I must "de-lurk" to compliment you on your post. I stay at home with 2 little boys and feel quite certain this is where the Lord has called me to be. Thank you for stating it so eloquently. We are each capable of completing the work He has called us to do.

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  10. Friend, you've encouraged me on a day when I think, "Are they even listening to me?" It's the plugging on to raise and train Christian men for the Kingdom. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete